Move-away cases can be difficult decisions for judges
Parents in Illinois who share custody of their children may want to consider the impact a move could have on their well-being. Generally, if one of the parents needs to move to another geographic location for work or for family support, the court will take the best interests of the children into account when making a decision about which parent will have the largest amount of physical custody.
Often the burden of proof will be on the non-custodial parent to prove that the move will cause the children harm. In some cases, the custodial parent will be asked to show why the move is a beneficial. The court may look at the time share percentage that's currently in the custody order, the children's relationship with both parents as well as ties to the community. The distance of the move is often a factor as well. A move of just a couple of hours may not be seen as terribly disruptive but going across the country or overseas will bring about more scrutiny.
Justifying the move isn't always required, but if there is evidence that it's being done in bad faith, the court is likely to include this in the decision. Age is also another factor. Young children are often very attached to one parent and their concept of time is limited. Older children may be able to voice an opinion about where they wish to live, and the courts often take this preference into consideration.
It's important for both parents to be willing to put aside their differences and make decisions that are based on what is in the best interests of the children. An attorney may be able to help by arranging a mediation that helps the parents come to an agreement without the involvement of a court.
Source: The Huffington Post, "In the Child's Best Interest: What It Means in Move-Away Cases", Lisa Meyer , February 12, 2014